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2040 84th Avenue SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040
Phone: 206.275.7609
Fax: 206.275.7868
Email: miparks@mercergov.. . .
Hours: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
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Fund Raising Tips for Non-Profit Organizations

by Bre Caldwell

Nonprofit organizations are a crucial tool in promoting causes and making positive changes in our society. While the primary motivation for these organizations is not financial, monetary support is a fundamental key to their success - whether itís ongoing operating expenses, a building project or a much-needed program. Read further for tips on how to maximize growth for your nonprofit organization.

Analyze your fundraising programs to determine which are the most efficient.

Take the time to step back and look at what your fundraising campaigns have produced for your organization. Rate them on a level of efficiency. Those event venues that gobble up precious resources and donít put forth a return should be reevaluated. Instead, put more resources toward your successful events.

gallery art gallery art
Art by Catherine Foster and Scott Moore, featured at the Mercer Island Community & Event Center, courtesy of the Mercer Island Arts Council.

Minor Donors.

Major donor programs are not always the answer to raising large sums of money for your non-profit organization.

Consider the minor donor. Minor donor groups target smaller givers, the goal being to motivate them to consistently donate Ė even at smaller amounts Ė for an extended period of time. With returning minor donors, more people contribute to your funding, which, in turn, can greatly increase attention to your cause.

Event ideas that work well with minor donor programs include community beer-halls, local picnics, smaller-scale sporting events and bake sales. In searching for an event venue that can accommodate such an event, research carefully. Look for the following:

  • An event venue with a banquet room that allows beer and wine.
  • An event venue that offers park rentals and activity set-ups within the park.
  • An event venue with staff that are present in the facility in case assistance is needed.
  • An event venue with ample free parking.

Affinity fundraising.

Affinity fundraising is where you put together a network of people who all have something in common with one another, and who all want to support your organization. This common thread is part of what forms the foundation of an affinity groupís fundraising efforts.

Affinity fundraising can be especially successful with getting your cause out via social media. These commonalities can multiply quickly, thus increasing results with less use of resources.

Examples of these affinity fundraising groups are recreation, church, young professionals groups and sports team fans. Naturally, when creating a fundraising event that caters to affinity groups, each event needs to have two consistent themes:

  • The binding theme that created this network, whether it is baseball or church.
  • Your cause; the foundation of your fundraising efforts Ė what your nonprofit benefits.

Because you can go literally anywhere with this type of event, evaluate your theme before searching for your event venue. If your affinity group is art appreciation, consider holding an art auction. In that case, look for an event venue that has a catering kitchen (if dinner is included), a media package, a banquet room, and perhaps breakout rooms for payment processing, safe-keeping, and smaller auction meeting rooms.

ďA Big Piece,Ē by Blanca Santander. Featured at the Mercer Island Community & Event Center Art Gallery, courtesy of the Mercer Island Arts Council.

Beef up marketing and PR efforts by hosting events..

Special events are an excellent way to gain and retain donors. The potential to raise large amounts of money in short periods of time is great, and the ways in which it can be raised within an event is endless. In addition to raising resources for your non-profit organization, special events provide a way to publicize a capital campaign and approach all sorts of prospective donors.

Hold Super Events.

Super events are a fundraising tactic used most often by groups raising funds for political campaigns. These events consist of multiple small events that are held on behalf of your organization on the same day and sharing a similar theme. One communication that often ties all of the events together is a call with your director, key supporters, or board chair, either via a conference call or live Internet video call. Super events allow you to support an entire network of hosts. Each host is raising money for your cause. In turn, this concludes with higher funding.

When searching for event venues for your super event, look for the following:

  • Smaller meeting rooms
  • Catering kitchen
  • Ample free parking
  • Media package
  • Easy-to-find location

The Mercer Island Community & Event Center is an ideal venue for large or small fundraising events in the Seattle area.

With four mid-sized breakout rooms right next to one another, a large banquet room, catering kitchen, and six miles of surrounding park, this facility provides the flexibility and space that is perfect for nonprofit functions.

For more information or a personal tour, please contact:

Rachel Gilbert
Reservation Specialist
Phone: (206) 275-7840

Mercer Island Community & Event Center
8236 SE 24th Street
Mercer Island, WA 98040



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